Counties- Manukau's top club side is now Northern Districts' top club team. Manukau is the new holder of the Eric Petrie Trophy, and will go on to represent Northern Districts at the National Club Championship to be played at Cornwall Park, Auckland 5-10 April 2016.
Manukau had beaten Kamo (Northland) in the semi-finals and Greerton (Bay of Plenty) had qualified for the finals by defeating Hamilton Old Boys.
Both Manukau and Greerton have a sprinkling of Northern Districts senior and age group representatives, but it was an ex Knights player who made the most telling contribution to Manukau's wins over Kamo and Greerton. Brandon Hiini, former Knights and Canterbury all rounder, was the stand out performer in both games. Hiini has been off the scene in recent seasons but showed he retains his old skills. He was well supported by a more recent Knight in Nick Kelly, who took 4 wickets in the final, and by ND U19 representatives Sandeep Patel and Jarrod Halliday.
Northern Districts A players Tom McRury and Tom Clout led the way for Greerton, but in the end Manukau were comfortable winners.
Manukau 210 Brandon Hiini 48, Sandeep Patel 46, Shalen Singh 25, Tom Clout 3-41 beat Greerton 127 Tom McRury 47, Nick Kelly 4-21, Jarrod Halliday 3-27, Sandeep Patel 2-36 by 83 runs.
Central Stags 147-8 in 20 overs (Dean Foxcroft 63, Kyle Abbott 2-29, Ish Sodhi 2-30) beat the Knights 80 all out in 14.4 overs (Ajaz Patel 3-24, Adam Milne 3-12, Doug Bracewell 2-10) by 67 runs at Seddon Park, Hamilton.
Dean Foxcroft's 63 runs and a strong performance in the field has led the Central Stags a 67 run win and the Burger King Super Smash title at Seddon Park this afternoon.
Batting first, their 147-8 looked light, but their attack never let the Knights batters get traction, taking wickets and applying serious scoreboard pressure, dismissing the Knights for 80 runs in the 15th over.
The Knights welcomed back Tim Southee and Mitchell Santner from BLACKCAPS duty, but Kyle Abbott did the early damage, removing openers Will Young for a duck and George Worker for 13.
Coming in at three, Dean Foxcroft was the only batsman in the match to score over 18, playing a well-timed innings by pushing singles and twos into space, and hitting seven fours and two sixes high onto the bank.
The Knights fielding was sharp, with Tim Seifert taking four catches behind the stumps, and Daniel Flynn and Tim Southee both taking tough chances to keep the pressure on.
Foxcroft ended on 63 from 50 balls, going in the 16th over to a fine Tim Southee caught and bowled. Adam Milne (14) and Ajaz Patel (12) contributed vital runs in the closing overs.
Abbott (2-29), Ish Sodhi (2-30) and Santner (2-23 from three) were the standouts with the ball as the Stags made 147-8 from their 20.
Nick Kelly (4) went in the second over, and Seifert looked in good touch early but skied Adam Milne to Dane Cleaver when he was on 18.
The Central Stags bowlers were miserly defending the low total - and the pressure brought wickets. Several of the Knights batsmen came undone going for the big shots, with Dean Brownlie (15), Corey Anderson (2) and Daniel Flynn (7) all caught on the rope.
Wickets tumbled and the end came quickly at the close - Ajaz Patel took 3-24, Adam Milne 3-12 and Doug Bracewell returned 2-10 as well as grabbing three catches, as the Stags claimed the title by 67 runs.
The Knights are in the Burger King Super Smash Grand Final after finishing top of the points table after the round-robin phase of the competition.
It was a finals battle that went right the way to the final round, with the Auckland Aces finishing level on points with the Knights with 28 each. The Knights finished first through virtue of their superior net run rate to the Aces.
Finishing first also means that the Knights will host the Grand Final on Sunday, February 17 at 4.10pm. They will play the winner of Friday's Elimination Final between the Auckland Aces and Central Stags, which will be hosted at Eden Park Outer Oval at 4.10pm.
Tickets for the Burger King Super Smash Grand Final go on sale Wednesday, February 13 and can be purchased by clicking here.
The Knights are back on home turf tomorrow as they look to secure a first-place finish and Grand Final hosting rights in the last round of the Burger King Super Smash.
While the three sides advancing to the Finals are confirmed, the final placings are still wide-open.
The Grand Final can only be hosted by the Knights or the Auckland Aces, while the Elimination Final could be hosted by either of these sides, or the Central Stags.
The Knights are sitting in the box seat and can only be pipped for first-place if they lose heavily tomorrow and the Auckland Aces secure a big victory over the Central Stags.
This means that the Knights will be hosting a Final of some description next week.
Tomorrow's match at Bay Oval is also the last at the venue in what has been a busy 2018/19 season, and Tauranga-local and Knights captain, Dean Brownlie, is excited at the prospect of playing at the Mount once again.
"It's great that we get the chance to secure a home Grand Final in front of our crowd at Bay Oval," said Brownlie.
"They've had a lot of cricket over the summer, hopefully they turn up one last time and help us try to reach the Grand Final."
Brownlie did however illustrate that the Knights still have a job to do in tomorrow's match and that a Grand Final is by no means secured.
"We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves though. Thoughts are on tomorrow's match and nullifying the threat of Otago," Brownlie said of tomorrow's game.
"They've played some good cricket but maybe haven't had that slice of luck you sometimes need to get the results, so we know we'll have to be at the top of our game to try take the element of luck out of the equation."
BUY TICKETS TO THE MATCH HERE: https://bit.ly/2Ei4NcK
KNIGHTS BURGER KING SUPER SMASH SQUAD - ROUND TEN V OTAGO VOLTS - SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2019, 7.10pm, BAY OVAL
Dean Brownlie (c)
Joe WalkerBJ Watling
Knights 196-8 in 20 overs (Nick Kelly 37, Daryl Mitchell 37) lost to Auckland Aces 197-4 in 19.2 overs (Craig Cachopa 60, Colin Munro 54, Robbie O'Donnell 45) by six wickets at Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland.
The Auckland Aces pulled off a perfectly timed chase to chase down the Knight's formidable 196-8 with six wickets and four balls up their sleeve. Colin Munro (54), Craig Cachopa (60) and Robbie O'Donnell (45 from 26) were the standouts as the Aces moved to second on the table, confirmed their spot in the Burger King Super Smash finals and maintained their momentum against the first placed Knights.
After the Aces put the visitors in, Nick Kelly (37) and Dean Brownlie (33) went on the attack hard from the start - after taking time to play themselves in, both cut loose and lifted the run rate to almost 12 an over, peppering Sandringham Road with some big sixes over the leg side.
There were some wobbles when Kelly, Brownlie and Brett Hampton all went out while adding just nine runs, but Daryl Mitchell (37) and Corey Anderson went on the counter-attack to get momentum back. Between them they hit some massive sixes straight down the ground, before Munro got his second crucial wicket of the match when Roneel Hira caught Anderson for 36.
Peter Bocock took on the attack to strike 27 from 13 at the end, with the Knights taking 14 from the last over from Mitchell McClenaghan to make it through to 196-8.
Colin Munro showed great concentration to play himself into form, scoring steadily before hitting out, bringing up his 50 with a cracking drive through the covers. He was joined by his skipper in the seventh with ten an over needed - the pair played it steady until Munro was caught by Brownlie from Scott Kuggeleijn at cover for 54 in the 11th.
From there, Cachopa and Robbie O'Donnell made a partnership of 98 to reel in the big total, taking singles everywhere and taking only calculated risks for boundaries.
The Knights were guilty of too many wides heading into the death overs - Daryl Mitchell conceded 12 from the 19th over, leaving six needed off the last - despite Kyle Abbot bowling Cachopa for 60, Daniel Bell-Drummond hit the winning runs through fine leg to get the Aces home and claim the win by six wickets.
By the end of tomorrow evening the Knights may well have secured first-place in the Burger King Super Smash and hosting rights to a second consecutive Grand Final.
The Knights make the short trip north for a clash with the other in-form side in the Super Smash, the Auckland Aces.
Victory over the Aces means the Knights will establish an unassailable lead at the top of the Super Smash with only one round to come.
It is another first versus second match-up for the Knights after the Aces moved into second spot on the ladder courtesy of their big win over the Canterbury Kings and the Central Stags' heavy loss to the Knights last weekend.
Last week's victory at McLean Park was the Knights' best performance of the season to date, as they posted their highest Super Smash and T20 score of 230 before dismissing the Stags for 99.
The Knights will need to replicate this performance if they are to achieve a positive result against the resurgent Aces, who have recovered from a slow start involving several abandoned matches.
It is a traditionally tight fixture with 23 matches between the sides resulting in 11 wins for the Knights and 12 for the Aces.
The Knights have the upper-hand in recent meetings however, winning their last four matches on the bounce against the Aucklanders.
Helping the Knights' cause is the return of Ish Sodhi to the squad, who has been in camp with the BLACKCAPS for the ODI series with India.
This strengthens the Knights' spin bowling options with Sodhi complementing Tarun Nethula, who claimed 6-23 in a brilliant performance against the Stags; the best T20 figures for the Knights.
KNIGHTS BURGER KING SUPER SMASH SQUAD - ROUND NINE V AUCKLAND ACES - SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2019, 4.10pm, EDEN PARK OUTER OVAL
Dean Brownlie (c)